Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Green Christmas–gift wrapping December 22, 2010

Filed under: Saving the Earth — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 11:17 am

I’m slightly behind in getting this post written, but hopefully it helps some of those last minute gift wrappers! 

Over the past year or so, we realized just how much wrapping paper we go through between birthdays and Christmas…for a family of 5, it gets a bit ridiculous!  We decided this year that we need to change that–there is no reason we need to be buying new paper, just to tear it up and toss it in the recycling bin (because let’s face it…even recycling takes energy, so to reduce our environmental footprints, our first step should be to reuse when possible!)

We soon decided to switch to reusable materials to wrap gifts–cloth was our first choice.  We did a test run with Jedi’s birthday to see if he would be disappointed in the lack of paper wrapping paper.  Knowing how particular and set in his routines he can be, if *he* could make the change without too much resisitance, then we would be able to make that transition as a family.  Sure enough, he didn’t mind the cloth wrapping paper at all!  It’s still the same excitement (albiet, without the tearing sound), and every piece of it can be reused.

I will admit, I am *not* a sewer.  At all.  In fact, if I have to do anything with a needle and thread, it will go undone until the exact last minute possible, and then you’ll find me cursing the fact that I never learned to use my sewing machine.  So, if I was going to do this cloth wrapping paper thing, I would *not* be sewing anything for it (for those that love to sew, the only difference between what I did and what you’d have to do is that you’d probably bind the edges a bit to make the edges smooth and polished. 🙂 )

You can use any type of cloth for wrapping–some of our wrapping involves using old, outgrown clothing.  Some of it involves using scraps or clearance sale yards of cloth off a bolt.  And some of it is old bedding–old pillowcases make fantastic bags, and sheets that are no longer being used can easily cover larger gifts. 

Using the Furoshiki wrapping technique, it’s easy to create a decorative, festive, presentable gift using cloth that can be reused over and over again!

(For those that do the Santa thing, we told our kids that we will keep our cloth paper out with a note to Santa to please use our reusable wrap.  That helps to answer the question of “why does Santa’s cloth and your cloth look the same, mama?” LOL!)

Under the tree looks just as festive with colorful cloth instead of colorful wrapping paper!


Because we knew that not everyone we give gifts to uses cloth wrapping and not everyone is interested in using cloth wrap, we also came up with a solution for those gifts we had to mail out.  All year long, we saved the brown kraft paper that comes as shipping material.  We ended up with an entire large tote full of it over the course of a year (apparently we do a lot of online shopping, LOL!).  This paper was perfect to use for wrapping paper–we decorated it with silk flowers, raffia ribbon, stickers, and ink stamps.  The silk flowers could easily be reused, the paper was reused, and every piece of it could be recycled (except the flowers of course).

Our gifts that needed to be shipped out to family

And, since we did receive gifts from others that were wrapped in traditional paper, it helped us answer the question of “what do we  use as packing material to ship these gifts?!”  We simply reused the wrapping paper the kids took off their gifts, and crumpled the paper to use as packing material–another way to reuse and reduce!

I hope some of these ideas help green up your Christmas!


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